CT’s Pension to Invest $145M in Connecticut Companies

Connecticut’s state treasurer Denise L. Nappier announced she will be committing $145M from the state employee pension fund for investments in CT based companies.  The $145M will be invested in companies of various sizes and stages of development through three funds which will be managed by outside fund managers.

Connecticut Growth Capital LLC, providing loans to middle market companies, will be managed by Westport based Balance Point Capital Partners. Nutmeg Opportunities Fund LLC , a fund that focuses on private equity investments, will be managed by New York’s J.P. Morgan Private Equity .West Hartford’s Fairview Capital Partners will manage the Constitution Fund LLC’s which will invest in early stage, high potential companies through traditional venture capital investments.

Nappier stated that the fund will be looking for sound investments that will also spur economic development in the state.

“It’s about making profitable investments that have the ancillary benefit of a positive macroeconomic impact on our state. Performance will be measured, first and foremost, by risk-adjusted returns, followed by other factors such as job creation and retention and overall economic growth.”

Connecticut’s pension is a multibillion dollar fund that invests equity in companies, and assets, to provide pension programs for its 212,000 state employees. The commitment to Connecticut companies is exciting news for the state and should bring a much needed boost to the economy.

You can find the complete article from the Hartford Business Journal here.

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May 2015 | Financial Technology Recap

As with all monthly CVG meetings, the Financial Technology event was one where networking took precedence. Sixty-two movers and shakers from the Crossraods Venture Group Community gathered to grow the Financial Technology sector in Connecticut. There were company showcases and presentations, an investor panel that gave live 17068282703_cff7cf146c_kfeedback to presenting companies, as well as a keynote speaker and time for networking both before and after the program.

Presenting Companies:

Three strong Rising Entrepreneurs presented at this months CVG event in front of a panel of experienced and knowledgeable investors. After each presentation, investors had the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback while audience members jotted comments on their Pitch Feedback Cards. Feedback cards were distributed to the presenters during the post-program networking hour.

Cardinal Wind – Presented by Mike Reynolds, Co-Founder & CEO and Teasha Feldman-Fitzthum, Co-Founder & CTO, is bridging the gap between engineers and the cardinalfinancial analysts to better help investors understand the wind-power industry in order to make future investment decisions. Cardinal Wind’s niche market is based on the fact that wind energy is difficult to measure and is over-saturated by conservative investors who are timid when it comes to a project that may yield considerable risk. Cardinal Wind incorporates patent-pending machine learning alogrothm technology invented at MIT,  technology that will benefit both banks and institutional owners as well as wind energy owners and operators. Cardinal Wind is currently seeking support in the form of capital resources, connections to industry players like banks and insurers, as well as advisory members for their board.

Reality Crowd TV – Presented by Manolis Sfinarolakis, Founder and CEO, is not another crowdfunding site. Reality REalityCrowd TV is a virtual incubator & crowdfunding network founded to provide support for those embarking on crowdfunding. The virtual incubator is comprised of the following elements; high quality mentors and experts, readily available educational programs, and funding platforms. In effect, it is the traditional incubator concept 100% online. Reality Crowd TV will offer three levels of service; one that offers the basic, free resources for do-it-yourselfers, a premium level that will allow access to experts, and an incubation level that offers more structured programming. Reality Crowd TV is seeking resources in order to scale the following business areas: Advisory board member with SAAS expertise, CTO hire, CMO hire, and a search for strategic partners in both accelerators and incubators.

SmartPay Solutions – Presented by Bob Conerly, CEO and President, provides pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation insurance administration and billing solutions SmartPaythrough proprietary software. According to Conerly there is an enormous, un-tapped market for this type of service and projects the company could easily pull in $52 billion in annual premiums. Also according to Conerly, competition has yet to reach SmartPay’s level. Similar providers like Paychex, ADP and Paygo require that they be the agent for their clients – SmartPay Solutions does not. In short, SmartPay “builds the connections so others don’t have to” allowing payroll venders and carriers to do business through SmartPay Solutions. SmartPay is also the only solution that currently offers premium financing.

Presenting Companies presented to a panel of experienced investors:

  • Valerie GelbCEO, Gelb Global
  • John StrahleyManaging Director, Ironwood Capital/Advantage Capital
  • Matthew StoreygardSenior Investment Associate, Connecticut Innovations
  • Ted Yang, Angel Investor Forum

Immediately following the entrepreneur presentations, keynote speaker Kiran Lingam, Investment Team and General Counsel at SeedInvest and Board of Director Keynoteat TiE Angels NYC, discussed the early stages in Fintech trends. These included P2P/Marketplace Lending, Investment Platforms, and Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin). According to Lingam, P2P lending is just getting started, especially in small business lending, consumer lending, and real estate.

We hope you will join us in two weeks at the Digital Media Makeup Event at the Stamford Innovation Center. 

Present & Showcase at an upcoming event:

Interested in presenting as a Rising Entrepreneur at on of our future networking events? Click here to apply.

View more event photos




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CI and Angel Investor Forum invest in BIOARRAY Therapeutics

ROCKY HILL, Conn., May 7, 2015 – Connecticut Innovations (CI) has announced it has invested $330K in BIOARRAY Therapeutics Inc. alongside Boston Harbor Angels and Connecticut’s largest angel group; the Angel Investor Forum. BIOARRAY is a clinical-stage molecular diagnostics company developing and commercializing RNA-based predictive diagnostics for cancer and is revolutionizing the treatment of breast cancer. All in, the Series A will provide BIOARRAY with $600K which will help them finish their clinical studies and move towards commercialization.

Patrick O’Neil, director of investments at CI, is excited about the investment in BIOARRAY and the effect the technology could have in the future.

“This diagnostic has the potential to improve the chances of disease-free survival for many patients and offer a much-needed alternative to the trial-and-error approach of cancer treatment, our investment will help BIOARRAY continue clinical studies and bring the company one step closer to commercialization.” 


BIOARRAY recently emerged from the UConn Technology Innovation Program and is now taking permanent residence at the Yale Science Park. You can learn more about BIOARRAY and CI in the full press release on CI’s website.  


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UConn Stamford Unveils Accelerate UConn Program

uconn_logo1According to the Stamford Advocate UConn Stamford will unveil its new Accelerate UConn Program on May 21st. The Program is UConn’s latest effort to fuel the entrepreneurial ventures of its students. The National Science Foundation announced earlier this year that it will be providing $300,000 in funding to the program, which will be used to distribute seed capital to entrepreneurs and startup teams in the program.

Barry Schwimmer, a managing partner of the Stamford Innovation Center and a major supporter of the Stamford startup scene, is excited about this new program.

“The Stamford Innovation Center is thrilled to see UConn bringing its NSF-I-Corps accelerator to Stamford. Great startup communities often have strong connections between academia and the business community. The Accelerate UConn program could really help enhance the exciting growth we are seeing here in Stamford,” said Schwimmer in an interview with the Stamford Advocate.

CVG is extremely excited about the development of this program and looks forward to its potential for building and growing startup communities around the state.

You can learn more about this program in the Stamford Advocate.

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Top CI Investments in Quarter 1

Top 10 deals from Connecticut Investment: 

Top deals Q1

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CURE: The Bigger Bang Theory – Non-Dilutive Funding as a Way to Get More Dough While Keeping More of the Pie

“For too many entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, outreach means two things: (1) a love-hate-need relationship with equity investors, and (2) praying on the altar of big pharma. Most rarely spend time in two critical habitats populated by critical stakeholders: venture philanthropy and government relations. These parts of the entrepreneurial ecosystem can provide funding where few deals have deal sheets; where support and value-add go far beyond the money. And, after an initial “tranche” of interest, they can be there throughout the medical product continuum. Their patients are your market. Their constituents are your market. Avoid them at your own peril.”

When: May 21 | 4:00pm
Where: Yale University | Evans Hall, School of Management
Cost: FREE

About Dr. Michael Salgaller:

michael-cure-learnDr. Michael Salgaller has over 20 years of medical research, business, and investment experience in various life

science sectors. He provides technical and strategic expertise to The Conafay Group in the area of funding, alliance development, and government relations.

Prior to joining The Conafay Group, he was a key member of the business development team for the healthcare practice at SAIC/Leidos – a Fortune-500 government contractor with $10B in annual revenue. He helped lead and deepen relationships with the Department of Health and Human Services – especially NIH and FDA – as well as foundations and patient advocacy groups. Before SAIC, he was a long-time industry executive who has held various positions in biotechnology and professional service firms – including interim President of Biologics Consulting Firm – a boutique medical product consulting firm. He was on the investment team of Toucan Capital, a $120M early-stage venture firm dedicated to the life sciences – where he guided company formation and helped develop medical products. Before that, as Vice President of Clinical and Research Affairs at Northwest Biotherapeutics, he led the development of two cancer treatments currently in late-stage clinical trials. He began his career doing bench research: as a Senior Staff Scientist at the National Cancer Institute, where he oversaw a laboratory developing cancer treatments for patients with terminal illnesses.

He is an author of over 100 articles, presentations, and book chapters, and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. He is the author of “Biotechnology Entrepreneurship,” which is used as a reference text for courses at NIH, Catholic University, and others. For several years, he has served on the selection committee for Maryland’s Incubator Company of the Year Awards, as well the Maryland Biotechnology Center Grant Awards. He was elected to the Sigma Xi Research Honorary, as well as the Pi Delta Epsilon Journalism Honorary. Dr. Salgaller received his PhD in Pathology from The Ohio State University.



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Q1 PwC MoneyTree Report – VC Investment Exceeds $10 Billion

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree Report the first quarter of 2015 was the highest invested since 2000. And with venture capital dollars exceeding $10 billion for the fifth consecutive quarter, venture capitalists are confident 2015 will be a busy and successful funding year.

“Although down slightly from the end of last year, the venture ecosystem deployed a healthy amount of financial capital to the startup ecosystem at the start of 2015, surpassing the $10 billion mark for the fifth consecutive quarter and setting the stage for what we expect to be another busy year for startup investing,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA.

“Historically, VC investing in the first quarter of the year is typically slower than the rest of the year. So, the drop in dollars invested compared to Q4 is not necessarily indicivative of what’s to come in 2015,” said Tom Ciccolella, US Venture Capital Leader at PwC.

Largest CT Investments: chart image PwC

  • Avon – Idevices LLC |  $10,000,000 | Software
  • Milford – SurgiQuest Inc. | $10,000,000 | Medical Devices and Equipment
  • Bloomfield – LiquidPiston Inc. | $1,146,000 | Industrial/Energy
  • Shelton – Logicbroker Inc. | $1,100,000 | Software
  • Madison – NovaTract Surgical Inc. | $600,000 | Medical Devices and Equipment
  • Farmington – Innovatient Solutions Inc. | $500,000 | Software
  • Branford – IsoPlexis | $125,000 | Biotechnology 
  • Stamford – Skystream Markets Inc. | $1,000 | Financial Services

More on CT Investments or view Largest U.S Investments

Top invested industries:

Software: The software industry continues to pull in the most funding, even though total numbers were down for the first quarter, venture capitalists invested $5.6 billion in 434 deals.

Biotechnology: The second largest investment total of $1.7 billion in a total 124 deals. Overall the Life Science sector including biotech and medical devices, received $2.2 billion in 193 deals.

Industrial/Energy: The third largest investment total of $1.4 billion in a total of 63 deals. Investment in the industrial/energy industries is up 133% in dollars invested and up 5% for total number of deals when compared to the last quarter in 2014.

Read the full PwC MonetyTree Report to learn more about first quarter investments


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Conn. Senator Chris Murphy Reintroduces Bill to Help Startups Attract Capital

Angel Investor Tax Credit Bill Proposed

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has reintroduced a bill that would offer a federal tax credit for Angel Investors on qualifying equity investments in high tech startups. This federal bill is based upon a Connecticut bill that has generated millions for small businesses and startups in the state. The bill would give Angels a 25% tax break on equity investments of $25,000 or more in U.S. based high tech startups which would make such investments more lucrative to investors.  Senator Murphy spoke about the success of the bill in Connecticut in a press release on Monday.

“Once again, Connecticut is leading the way,” said Murphy. “In just a few short years, Connecticut’s Angel Tax Credit has already generated millions of dollars in capital for startup businesses across the state, and has helped create hundreds of jobs in high-growth industries, like science and technology, for our hardworking residents. Just like the HALOS Act I introduced earlier today, this Angel Tax Credit Act will make it easier for investors to back new businesses and support job creation and innovation across the nation, and I’m proud to bring this concept – which has helped so many businesses in Connecticut – to Washington.”

The bill still has a long road ahead before it could be enacted, but it certainly is a step in the right direction as Tech industries continue to grow throughout the country. You can read more about the bill and its benefits in Senator Murphy’s press release here. 

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April 2015 – Northeast Consumer Product Conference – Recap

ACG1April’s Northeast Consumer Product Conference had an excellent turn out, bringing investors and entrepreneurs from around the state to Stratford’s Two Roads Brewery for an exciting program showcasing up and coming consumer product companies. The event included an early and late stage panel which discussed the consumer product industry as it pertains to Connecticut. Attendees also received tours of the brewery as well as an impressive presentation from the founders of the brewery themselves.

CVG encourages you to explore these impressive exhibitors who attended the conference this year:

A Happy Life - Fair-wage coffee making the world happier one cup at a time. 
American Eagle Cycles, Inc - brings you the ultimate recreational tricycle for adults.
Arcanatura LLC - ArcaNatura creates clinically-proven environmentally friendly medical products for pets.
Cissé Cocoa Company - bridging the gap between luxury and responsibility, we invite you to discover our delicious, Fair Trade, non-GMO and fully traceable hot cocoa and baking mixes.
Healthy Life Brands LLC - Healthy Life Brands’ Veggie Fries is revolutionizing the frozen French fry category  by providing consumers with a healthier alternative to America’s beloved fry without sacrificing taste.
Kerry Wood Healthy Foods - creates food dressings that contain no added sugar, no artificial additives or trans fats.
Planet Fuel Beverage Company, LLC -  is committed to developing great tasting beverages that kids love and parents can feel good about.
Rockin’ & Roastin’ Coffee Company -  provides high quality organic coffee at a fair price that will delight and satisfy our customers. Our goal is to insure the coffee quality, presentation, packaging and uniqueness will speak for itself and create a unique customer value and experience.
Savory Pie Guy, LLC - seeks to expand the Savory Pie category beyond pot pies with an all-natural, high quality and inventive product line.
The Bites Company -  bakes round, small, bite size Biscotti in almond, lemon, cocoa, gluten free almond and gluten free cocoa.
Turq, LLC - is the ultimate sportbrief engineered to empower active guys to challenge life without the chafe.
Voda - water for the 21st Century

W2 Designs, LLC - is an alternative to heavy metal weights and time consuming trips to the gym, this device is appropriate for use in the home, office, gym, clinic, studio and hotels.  


Join us at one of our upcoming networking events for CT investors and entrepreneurs:
Financial Services | 4:30 – 7:00pm | May 14th
Digital Media (Makeup) | 4:30 – 7:00pm | May 28th.

Rising Entrepreneurs are invited to present at our monthly networking events. Applications are required.



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CTNext awards $34,000 to Connecticut Startups

CTNext a state backed entrepreneurship program recently awarded $34,000 to some of Connecticut’s best up and coming startups at their March 19th Entrepreneur Innovation Awards. The three companies that came away with top prize of $10,000 were:

B2 Products a Tolland based company which is developing a lever-operated tourniquet to stop blood loss.

Bioarray Therapeutics who is developing a test to determine a cancer patient’s responsiveness to early stage chemotherapy out of New Haven. 

TotalHousehold out of Bethel grabbed the last top prize with its payment processing and lead generation IT platform.

You can find the whole story online at the Hartford Business Journal.

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